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“Overdressed does for T-shirts and leggings what Fast Food Nation did for burgers and fries.”
—Katha Pollitt
 
Cheap fashion has fundamentally changed the way most Americans dress. Stores ranging from discounters like Target to traditional chains like JCPenny now offer the newest trends at unprecedentedly low prices. And we have little reason to keep wearing and repairing the clothes we already own when styles change so fast and it’s cheaper to just buy more.
 
Cline sets out to uncover the true nature of the cheap fashion juggernaut. What are we doing with all these cheap clothes? And more important, what are they doing to us, our society, our environment, and our economic well-being?

Review

“Cline is the Michael Pollan of fashion…Hysterical levels of sartorial consumption are terrible for the environment, for workers, and even, ironically, for the way we look.”
—Michelle Goldberg, Newsweek/The Daily Beast

“How did Americans end up with closets crammed with flimsy, ridiculously cheap garments? Elizabeth Cline travels the world to trace the rise of fast fashion and its cost in human misery, environmental damage, and common sense.”

—Katha Pollitt, columnist for The Nation

Overdressed is eye-opening and definitely turns retailing on its head. Cline’s insightful book reveals the serious problems facing our industry today. The tremendous values and advantages of domestic production are often ignored in favor of a price point that makes clothing disposable.”

—Erica Wolf, executive director, Save the Garment Center

 

About the Author

Elizabeth L. Cline has written for AMCtv.com, The Daily Beast, New York, The Etsy Blog, Popular Science, The New Republic, The Village Voice and seedmagazine.com. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
 
Visit www.overdressedthebook.com

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4.5 out of 54.5 out of 5
391 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

jenny br
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Rethinking Fast Fashion
Reviewed in the United States on November 8, 2019
Excellent research on clothing trends and how outsourcing has affected quality and pricing of "fast fashion" trends. Well written. Fun read. Makes you think about buying fewer quality clothing items to wear longer than buying numerous cheaply made items that don''t last.... See more
Excellent research on clothing trends and how outsourcing has affected quality and pricing of "fast fashion" trends. Well written. Fun read. Makes you think about buying fewer quality clothing items to wear longer than buying numerous cheaply made items that don''t last. The history of manufacturing is intriguing. I''m cleaning out my closet today!
5 people found this helpful
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JMB369
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Eye-opening Look at How We Dress
Reviewed in the United States on May 16, 2013
Reading this book helped me make sense of why most of today''s clothes seem cheap and poorly made. They ARE! This book takes you behind the scenes into the world of fashion, garment making and marketing, but don''t get turned off if you are not a fashionista! This is a book... See more
Reading this book helped me make sense of why most of today''s clothes seem cheap and poorly made. They ARE! This book takes you behind the scenes into the world of fashion, garment making and marketing, but don''t get turned off if you are not a fashionista! This is a book every consumer should read, whether you are a twenty-something collecting your own pay check for the first time, a working Mom with kids to clothe, or a senior on a tight budget. It is a shocker. We the consumers are responsible for the decline. Why? Because we want current fashion at a cheap price, and merchandisers have figured out how to give it to us. But if you are a savvy shopper who heads to a thrift shop or consignment shop to buy better quality at equally low prices, beware! As cheap clothes flood the market, more and more are finding their way into second hand stores. Soon quality clothes will go the way of clunky TV and computer monitors and dial-up telephones. And it''s not all about "Made in China." The book is an easy read, but packed with information. The author appears to have done her homework. I gave it four stars because I think it''s an important book -- didn''t give it five because it xould have used some tighter editing. For the record, I seldom give 5 stars!
45 people found this helpful
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Debbie
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A MUST READ for everyone!!!!
Reviewed in the United States on January 30, 2020
I''m in the business of buying fabric and clothing and costumes but this book was a real game changer. We were already doing a great deal of re-purposing but having lived through the garment industry since the 70''s, I see how our industry has changed in the last 50 years.... See more
I''m in the business of buying fabric and clothing and costumes but this book was a real game changer. We were already doing a great deal of re-purposing but having lived through the garment industry since the 70''s, I see how our industry has changed in the last 50 years. I asked everyone I work with to read it as well - and I''m being so much more mindful of where the garments I purchase are made and what they are made from. A MUST READ!
4 people found this helpful
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lanalew
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Read this!
Reviewed in the United States on February 12, 2013
Overdressed Last month I read Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline and it changed my life. It was eye opening. It was truly shocking. It made a huge impact. It was life changing. I just didn’t realize the ramifications... See more
Overdressed

Last month I read Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline and it changed my life. It was eye opening. It was truly shocking. It made a huge impact. It was life changing. I just didn’t realize the ramifications of fast fashion. I’m a casual gal – cotton twill slacks in a couple colors, jeans, a few knit tops and sweaters, and I’m set. I used to love to shop at Kohl’s. It’s inexpensive and if it’s not on sale this week, it’ll be on sale next week. And, just like the book stated, items were reasonable enough that I could and would buy a few colors of each style I liked. And do it again next season. And next… So where do all the clothes go when everyone throws them out to get new styles next month / season? That’s what got me. That and never being happy with the fit and quality of workmanship. When you sew, you know how things should be put together. Furthermore, I don’t wish to be a willing participant in providing extremely poor working conditions for those working in garment factories. So I chose to make a difference in my world. I chose to be a more conscientious consumer. I chose to return to making my own clothes.
36 people found this helpful
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MMdesignerTop Contributor: Sewing
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Interesting read from beginning to end
Reviewed in the United States on December 20, 2014
For most of my life, I''ve followed my mother''s advice and paid a bit more for high-quality, timeless clothes. However, over the past few years I have been sucked into cheap fast-fashion and added a few knock-offs to my closet that often don''t make it past the second... See more
For most of my life, I''ve followed my mother''s advice and paid a bit more for high-quality, timeless clothes. However, over the past few years I have been sucked into cheap fast-fashion and added a few knock-offs to my closet that often don''t make it past the second washing. Ms. Cline raises the curtain on the ugly fast-fashion industry and reminds us to be more thoughtful when purchasing clothes and accessories. She inspires us to be more thoughtful in our purchases and to be cognizant of whose hands are creating the pieces we put on our backs.

I am now back to my old-fashioned (much more honorable) habit of consistently inspecting seams and hems for proper construction and looking for the "made in..." label. If we refuse to buy items created in sweatshops, our actions could lead to better working conditions throughout the world.
17 people found this helpful
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susan averett
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
informative and thought provoking
Reviewed in the United States on January 16, 2019
This book was eye-opening. I did not realize the toll that our cheap clothing takes on the environment. The slow-clothing movement is also interesting. The book is a little dated now (2018) but I think the authors main points are well taken. I enjoyed the book and recommend... See more
This book was eye-opening. I did not realize the toll that our cheap clothing takes on the environment. The slow-clothing movement is also interesting. The book is a little dated now (2018) but I think the authors main points are well taken. I enjoyed the book and recommend to others.
7 people found this helpful
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Teela Wyman
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Gave us a lot to think and talk about
Reviewed in the United States on March 10, 2021
I purchased this book originally for myself to listen to while on walks. My boyfriend took an interest in the book and started requesting that I put it on while on drives. Together we''ve learned so much about the world of fast fashion, and the state of the fast-fashion... See more
I purchased this book originally for myself to listen to while on walks. My boyfriend took an interest in the book and started requesting that I put it on while on drives. Together we''ve learned so much about the world of fast fashion, and the state of the fast-fashion industry circa 2009. I sew my own clothes and already had a lot of strong feelings about the textiles I use, but I''d only gone on what I knew in terms of the science behind textile creation. It was helpful to see how the topics which I''d only seen on a microscopic level, played out on a macroscopic level. While the information in this book is definitely dated, and we are looking forward to moving on to more contemporary books on the topic, this book was a great primer for anyone interesting in learning more about where their clothes come from.
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ministry of the interior
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Mind-blowing
Reviewed in the United States on October 1, 2012
As a stylist, it is always concerning that consumers will tend to buy cheap and poorly made fashion. This book has been an eye-opener on the fashion industry as it operates today - and given me a great deal more ammunition! The author argues convincingly that we are wearing... See more
As a stylist, it is always concerning that consumers will tend to buy cheap and poorly made fashion. This book has been an eye-opener on the fashion industry as it operates today - and given me a great deal more ammunition! The author argues convincingly that we are wearing ''rags'' - poorly designed and constructed fast fashion made out of cheap materials. We are not doing ourselves any favours, let along the planet. I had expected a very ''green'' approach - the environmental message is clear, and especially fascinating within the context of this wildly out-of-control industry. Most Gen X and Ys have never constructed a full garment and so have no idea of what constitutes quality in clothing. This book will change the way you look at clothing forever - to quote the author "cheap clothes not only undermine those who sew, sell and design them, they''re the pitiful result of decades of price pressure that has erased the craftsmanship and splendor of what we wear...When we can recognize how clothing is put together, what it''s made of, and can visualize the long journey it makes to our closets, it becomes harder to view it as worthless or disposable. Instead, we begin to want to own garments that are unique and made with a level of skill sand good materials that cheap fashion simply can''t provide us." Note that the book largely discusses issues within a US context.
10 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

Rosey Lea
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Only for the American Readers
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 4, 2019
This book is really only for American readers, and it''s now badly dated. Most of the book is taken up with the sales history of specific American clothing stores. Aside from that there''s a little on American ethical clothing makers, and American sewing bloggers (none of...See more
This book is really only for American readers, and it''s now badly dated. Most of the book is taken up with the sales history of specific American clothing stores. Aside from that there''s a little on American ethical clothing makers, and American sewing bloggers (none of whom still blog about sewing). The only nod to life outside the USA is the briefest commentary on cheap Chinese clothing imports, but the author doesn''t explore this - just acknowledges it. There was really nothing in depth about the environmental impact of cheap fashion, social media sales driving cost cutting, real time spending changes or innovative ways to address the situation. The book is just "I buy lots of clothes. Everyone buys lots of clothes. Perhaps I''ll make my own clothes. No, I''ll keep buying clothes."
One person found this helpful
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TN
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Shallow analysis
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 2, 2018
The book talks about the symptoms - lower clothing prices, drawing on personal experience of shopping casually out of habit for cheap fashion, the rise of the fast fashion brands. However, it does not go deep into analysis of underlying root causes such as the political and...See more
The book talks about the symptoms - lower clothing prices, drawing on personal experience of shopping casually out of habit for cheap fashion, the rise of the fast fashion brands. However, it does not go deep into analysis of underlying root causes such as the political and economic context of various producing countries around the world and its effect on the global supply chains, the actual production process and the social and environmental cost of various textiles and technologies, etc.
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K.Evans
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Important read for everyone who buys clothes!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 29, 2019
This is a very insightful book. I was already on a path to being more conscious of my impact on the world, and this just fortified what was already in my head. The things we are doing to the planet and fellow people just so we can buy a dress for a fiver is ridiculous and...See more
This is a very insightful book. I was already on a path to being more conscious of my impact on the world, and this just fortified what was already in my head. The things we are doing to the planet and fellow people just so we can buy a dress for a fiver is ridiculous and disgusting. I will definitely be more aware of how I spend my pound, and already no longer buy new polyester items, or clothes from Bangladesh. I really recommend this book.
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Sweetpea
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Very interesting, although would have liked a more world view rather than just US based
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 23, 2019
Interesting book on the topic but shame it was so US-centric. While the decline of US industry in the fashion area is obviously a large problem, considering it is such a consumer focused society, it would have been interesting to hear how the rest of the world has changed...See more
Interesting book on the topic but shame it was so US-centric. While the decline of US industry in the fashion area is obviously a large problem, considering it is such a consumer focused society, it would have been interesting to hear how the rest of the world has changed and what is being done to tackle things.
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Sharon D
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Ugh! I have enough clothes to open a store
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 31, 2016
Lived in NYC worked in retail and lived the changes Cline describes. I''m now repairing refashioning and thrifting. Fascinating book. Easy to read. Creates immediate comprehension of your retail/fashion world.
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popular Overdressed: online new arrival The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion online sale

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